The Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota has barred Governor Kristi L. Noem from its lands for the second time in five years, following her remarks on curbing immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. Tribal President Frank Star Comes Out declared Pine Ridge Reservation off-limits to Noem, citing offense over her announcement of sending razor wire and security personnel to Texas. The tribal leader emphasized the sovereignty of the Oglala Sioux Nation, asserting that it falls under U.S. protection, not South Dakota’s jurisdiction.
Star Comes Out accused Noem of exploiting the border issue for political gains, suggesting her ambitions to be Donald Trump’s running mate. Noem responded, expressing regret that politics had entered the discussion on federal law enforcement failures at the southern border and tribal lands.
The tribal dispute coincides with the ongoing immigration challenges at the U.S.-Mexico border, with President Biden signaling a willingness to use emergency authorization to address border issues. Noem described the influx of immigrants as an “invasion,” causing concern about violence, drugs, and human trafficking on tribal reservations.
Star Comes Out urged Noem to support the bipartisan border deal in Congress and contested her use of the term “invasion,” stating that the issues of drugs and human trafficking affect the entire region. The tribal president emphasized that many arriving at the border are Indigenous people seeking better opportunities from countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico.
This isn’t the first time Noem has faced a ban from Pine Ridge Reservation. In 2019, a feud over the Keystone XL oil pipeline led to a similar ban, which was later lifted in December 2019 after Noem assured that the state would not enforce certain anti-riot laws.
Despite the ban, Noem expressed a desire to improve relationships with the Oglala Sioux, emphasizing the need to spend time together for building stronger connections.